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46. The Invasive Revenue Service (IRS)

Hey, I hear Rachel Maddow doesn't pay any taxes.

I mean, I don't have any *proof* that MS-NBC host Rachel Maddow doesn't pay any taxes, but I've made the claim, so we need to treat this allegation with the gravity it deserves. I demand an immediate, public, witch hunt for Maddow's personal tax information, and if she doesn't like it, well, too bad. Afterall, what's she hiding? What's her annual budget for Buddy Holly glasses?

The three-ring, dumpster-fire, chainsaw-juggling circus of American politics made a lot of hay out of the fact that Ms. Maddow had (apparently illegally) obtained a copy of two pages of Trump's tax return from 2005. This document was crumpled up and wrapped around a rock that was thrown into the yard of a next-door neighbor to a production assistant who happened to sit on the subway next to some guy who once had lunch with Maddow after they met on Tinder and decided maybe it wasn't gonna work out, or something. Maddow teased the fact that she had Trump's much-discussed tax return with the wild abandon of an over-caffeinated Geraldo Rivera standing in front of Al Capone's garden shed with a pick axe, a flashlight, and a treasure map bought from one of those Hollywood "Homes of the Stars" hucksters. When her big reveal fell flat on its face — in that it proved only that Trump paid an enormous amount of taxes in an unremarkable fashion — ridicule was swiftly directed Maddow's way.

Looking past all this, though, what we really need to be asking ourselves is why any government agency has this much power over — and this much information about — any public citizen. We forget that before he ran for president, Trump was just some guy with bad hair who was occasionally on TV. He was well liked by many of the same people who now proclaim him to be the Next HitlerTM. Trump made many statements in support of Democrats, and for all intents and purposes, he was one. It wasn't until he ran for president as a Republican that he became Public Enemy Number One to Maddow and her ilk.

Yet this flaming bag of dog poop that Maddow eagerly stamped out on her own front doorstep, this unremarkable reveal of Trump's personal information, was always there for the revealing. The IRS knows most everything about your financial life, keeps your personal records, poses an ever-present threat, and proclaims you guilty until proven innocent if it deems you guilty of some arcane, tax-related transgression.

In what free society would this be acceptable? And how did the monster that is our tax code get as large and untenable as it's become? While the nation discusses Trump's taxes and his refusal to release them, it's worthwhile to ask ourselves why we take for granted that the IRS should have this hold over our lives. And when you get tired of pondering weighty arguments like that, you can always laugh at the fact that some people choose to get their fake news from an establishment mouthpiece like Rachel Maddow.



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